As we have come to expect of his characters, Louis CK had his latest companion Amia enter the world of Louie subtly; in the first episode named after her mid-season encompassing story arc (it seems), she went entirely unnoticed by the protagonist himself until he practically tripped over her... then came the screams. And yet, here she is, a new woman in Louie's life, in a season that seems to be almost exclusively about the women in Louie's life. But with a month time limit on Amia's stay in New York, and a language barrier the size of the city itself, we know as little about Amia as Louie. Fingers crossed there's more to discover about the charming violinist in "Elevator Part 4" and "Elevator Part 5" Monday night, but until then, there are some thing you need to know about the fantastic actress who plays her: Eszter Balint.
I suggest you take a Memorial Day break to peruse Balint's bio on her website, as it reads like a whimsical yet edgy romp through finding, rejecting, and re-finding every form of art. With all of the adventures Balint has had, it would be easy to imagine Amia is simply one of them, captured on film.
Like Amia, Balint is Hungarian
Though she's been bouncing from coast to coast of the United States for nearly 40 years, Balint spent her childhood in Hungary. Her parents joining a theater group took her to Paris for a short time, before the group and her family permanently relocated to Manhattan, though travel to theater festivals allover the world continued to make Balint's childhood an international one.
She got her muscial start as a DJ
Balint's early life spent performing in her parent's rather successful theater group, exposed her to a life "where glamour, adventure, grit, and day-to-day struggle existed side by side." Enter: the nightclub scene in 1980s New York City. Balint spent her evenings as a DJ, spinning a mix of No Wave, funk, and blues for the bands that played her parents' theater space in the early hours of the morning. The relationships she built there scored her first recording gig on a rap track produced by artist Jean Michel Basquiat, featuring rapper Rammellzee.
She's an accomplished violinist
Of course, on that rap track, little Balint was playing violin. As we saw in "Elevator Part 3," Balint is a violinist, the earliest and most prolific of her many artistic talents.
She Made her film debut in Stranger Than Paradise
Balint made her fist big jump into film at the age of 15, playing John Lurie's visiting cousin, Eva, in im Jarmusch’s 1984 indie classic, Stranger Than Paradise. As Slate pointed out, Balint's character in Louie almost seems a continuation of Eva, and Louis C.K. has often proclaimed himself a big fan of the film. Like Eva, Amia is Hungarian, visiting New York City for a short time to see an ailing aunt, and contains a magnetism that is not immediately evident.
And hasn't been onscreen in 18 years (she's mostly music these days)
After Stranger Then Paradise came Woody Allen's Shadows and Fog (1991), and Steve Buscemi's Trees Lounge (1996) marked Balint's last time acting onscreen...until Louie. Balint's main focus since removing herself from the Hollywood acting scene has been throwing herself "wholeheartedly and violently into her love of music and words." Her first two full-length albums, Flicker and Mud, have been applauded by The New York Times and Billboard, and the latter is available on iTunes.
Images: FX, Blogspot/fullecirclestuff